Terry’s Place and the Underground Chefs

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Back in the 90s, I was a banquet waitress at the Hawaiian Regent (the predecessor to the Waikiki Marriott) to supplement my income as a vice president at a PR agency. On nights when a lot of us were off, we would sometimes go to Paul & Terry’s Place in the Chinese Cultural Plaza for cheap drinks, darts, and karaoke. It was a super laid-back, hole-in-the-wall joint that was kind of a hidden gem. Oh, yeah, and did I mention cheap drinks?

Well, fast forward: Paul has retired, and Terry Kakazu re-named the bar Terry’s Place a few months ago. She also brought in a couple of chefs who wanted to experiment with menu items (pictured at right). I can’t mention their names because they work at other places, but Terry did let me grab this shot off that fabulous resource for investigative reporting—Facebook. So if you’ve seen them around town, you know who these semi-secret, self-titled “underground chefs” are.

I recently went to Terry’s Place to meet some friends and was surprised to find out that the place had been in business for 21 years. I was even more surprised to find that Terry vaguely remembered who I was, pegging the years I used to come in, and that I was with the Hawaiian Regent crew. Here are some highlights:

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Terry's Place doesn't really get hopping till later in the evening, so if you get there at 5 p.m., it's empty. The patrons are all regulars, so it's kind of like walking into the bar from "Cheers."

At first glance, Terry’s Place is the same hole-in-the-wall that I knew 15 years ago. But if you sit with your bottle of HASR wine and plate of rib eye steak, you’ll see it’s matured with underlying sparks of sophistication. Kind of like me. ;)

Terry’s Place
100 N. Beretania St. #207 (in the Chinese Cultural Plaza)
(808) 533-2322

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You can read all of Melissa’s blogs at www.nonstophonolulu.com/urbanmixplate. Follow Melissa on Twitter@Melissa808, on Foursquare as Melissa808, or email at Melissa@nonstophonolulu.com.

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16 comments
harrycovair
harrycovair

Okay, now I have to really try this place again. It's only a short walk from HASR. Last time I saw Terry was at the old Mei Sum on Pauahi Street.

Maxcat
Maxcat

Melissa, you made me love this place. Great piece ... pics and words were from the heart (and stomach).

nonstopmari
nonstopmari moderator

all that meat looked good, even the pork chops. do u have to sing if u go? :>

MoOgooGuypAN
MoOgooGuypAN

I'm impressed that you were a VP and yet still humbled yourself to work as banquet wait staff. Awsome. So how's the parking over there? I honestly never go to the Chinese Cultural Center just because...I had no reason ever go there. I do however like hole in the wall mom&pop type places and this sounds like one to check out when lookin for a place to relax and enjoy drinks and conversation.

spldrttngrl
spldrttngrl

Gosh, the last time I've been there it was still called Paul and Terry's place, that was years ago! Maybe I'll go by and see how it is now :)

Ynaku
Ynaku

That's the kind of place I would love to hang out in too. Where people know your name.

Melissa808
Melissa808 moderator

@nonstopmari I don't sing! So ... no need. Also if you go early, the place is empty. Something to keep in mind.

harrycovair
harrycovair

@Melissa808 @MoOgooGuypAN Depending on the time of day the Cultural Plaza can have a line of cars waiting to get in. A secondary parking site is the undergound parking lot that you enter from Beretania Street just after you cross Nuuanu Ave and is located below the Basket Ball court.

Melissa808
Melissa808 moderator

@MoOgooGuypAN Parking is almost always good! I always forget about this place because it's so hidden away.

Actually I come from a family of peeps who did banquet waiting on the side. It's good money! Plus I chose that because I figured, if I ever lost my job, I had something useful to fall back on. :)

harrycovair
harrycovair

@spldrttngrl Same here. Haven't been to the new place since it was renamed from Paul and Terry's Place. Looks like the food items have evolved somewhat from before @Melissa808 .

808marv
808marv

@Ynaku And they're always glad you came? :-)

That ribeye looks mighty delicious.

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